Oh, my planet, I am so in love with you. And you seem to love me back. We are an item. Daily, you swerve, slow-dancing with the sun, seducing me with new angles of interpretation so that my peonies manifest themselves in color swatches, shades shifting from apricot to blood. And my lawn, licking up necessary light, grows, greens into a small hay field to swoon in. Even the promiscuous dandelions reflect the generosity of light.
Your seasons’ musical compositions, themes and variations—apogee, perigee, the lengthening of days, then nights. Your planetary rhythms—the same every year, and every year unique.
Waking, early morning ‘s heavy shadows shorten and blanch, and then there’s noon, and then again, a lengthening to dusk until, complete with stars, dark wraps me in fleece. By nightfall in the companion dark, my desire gives away to dreaming, the way lovers ease into sleep after passion is spent.
Waiting is purification, is patience quelling desire, is God’s time permeating human haste.
The crystal droplet gathers at the curled leaf’s tip but does not fall. The mighty wave bounds in but does not break.
The heart’s new season pauses on the threshold of the walled, inviolate garden, the spring of living waters at its center.
We wait till that authoritative voice cries once more, “Come forth! Begin to bud and bloom! Toss in the breezes of my ardent love! Be all renewed and filled with light! Waiting is over— the hour of fulfillment come!”
Beloved, this is our new season. Together let us go to meet it.
God is the strangest of all lovers; His ways are past explaining. He sets His heart on a soul; He says to Himself, “Here will I rest My love.”
But He does not woo her with flowers or jewels or words that are set to music, no names endearing, no kindled praise His heart’s direction prove.
His jealousy is an infinite thing. He stalks the soul with sorrows; He tramples the bloom; He blots the sun that could make her vision dim.
He robs and breaks and destroys—there is nothing at last but her own shame, her own affliction, and then He comes and there is nothing in the vast world but Him and her love of Him.
Not till the great rebellions die and her will is safe in His hands forever does He open the door of light and His tenderness fall, and then for what is seen in the soul’s virgin places, for what is heard in the heart, there is no speech at all.
God is a strange lover; the story of His love is most surprising. There is no proud queen in her cloth of gold; over and over again there is only, deep in the soul, a poor disheveled woman weeping . . .
for us who have need of a picture and words: the Magdalen.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
God will receive everything in your life. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). Whatever you devote to society, your work, and your human relations are to be given in such a way that it is not taken from what you give to God. Is this possible? Yes! Through his own example, Jesus has shown it to be. He gave himself completely to us, but in handing himself over he did not in any way leave his Father. To the contrary, it was the Father’s will he lived in, when he turned toward us, and it was the Father’s love he communicated.
It was precisely because Jesus lived so fully in his Father that he was unable to forget the world and humankind. The Father is, after all, Father of us all and loves us all.
The cross shows us that there was no separation between the Father and us in Jesus’ life. It was not an either-or, but rather a both-and. When Jesus reached the culmination of his love for us, he also reached the culmination of his love for the Father.
The cross consists of two beams. The vertical beam expresses our relationship with God. The horizontal beam points to our earthly relations. These two meet each other and become one in the intersection of the lines, the center and locus of the heart of Christ. His heart burns with a singular love, and this love makes him stretch toward the Father and out toward the world to embrace us all.
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Saint John.
In Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Today is Friday,” three Roman soldiers are unwinding in a Jerusalem bar on a Friday night. It had been a long, hard week. It was Passover, which meant that they had worked double shifts because of the crowds. And to make things worse, a would-be Messiah named Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem the previous Sunday and almost caused a riot. But everything had taken care of itself. Passover was coming to an end, and when Jesus was crucified his disciples dispersed.
While downing their drinks, two soldiers are talking about their day’s work.
1st Soldier: Ain’t I seen ’em? I seen plenty of them [crucified]. I tell you [Jesus] was pretty good in there today.
2nd Soldier: You’re a regular Christer, big boy.
1st Soldier: Sure, go on and kid him. But listen while I tell you something. He was pretty good in there today. (210)
A third soldier remains quiet. He is sick. He had seen just as many crucifixions as the other two, but somehow this one had been different. He cannot put into words how it was different or what he had seen but it had made him sick. The story ends with the soldiers going back to the barracks and one of them saying to his sick comrade, “You been out here too long. That’s all.”
Hemingway’s story reveals one of the ways in which God’s grace breaks into our lives. When we have a new reaction to a routine experience, when we see the old and the ordinary in a new light, we experience revelation. Like the soldier in the story, we may not be able to put into words what is happening to us, but revelation happens not in the explanation so much as in our awareness. How often do we become sick because the tenderness of God’s love exposes the callousness of our lives? At such moments, we can be tempted to say to ourselves something like the soldier said to his comrade. “I’ve been working too hard.” Or “I’m taking myself too seriously.” We can readily dismiss feelings of uneasiness or guilt over a long-standing behavior as nothing but merely a passing mood, when in fact, however, such feelings may contain a divine invitation.
~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.
Within the cross is life’s mainstay and consolation, and it alone provides the way to our salvation.
~ Saint Teresa of Avila, O.C.D.
En la cruz está la vida y el consuelo, y ella sola es el camino para el cielo. ~ Santa Teresa de Ávila, Carmelita Descalza